Saturday, July 26, 2008

An Interesting Emblem

There are dozens of chairs in this style at the Shriners' Temple in Milwaukee, all marked with this interesting embossed emblem on the back. I thought the central part shows a double-headed dragon; dondelion says it's a double-headed sea-horse. This chair was the only example of its type on the floors on which ladies are allowed (we were not allowed to tour the lower floor where, our tour guide said, most of these chairs are located). Michelle snapped this photograph on 7/25/08.

It is only now, in looking at the photo, that I noticed that the central block of the double-headed dragons (or sea-horses) is enclosed in an embossed square composed of four blue cross-like medallions on each of its four corners and three "sacred eyes" (shaped like the vesica pisces) on each of the north, south, east and west bands enclosing the design in the central block.

This photo also shows some of the beautiful tile-work that decorates the Temple and the rich color-ways that were used in its construction: black, white, tawny orange, gold, blue, mauve-pink. Our guide told us that each tile was individually laid by a family of Italian tile-layers (a father and four sons) who did all of the tile work throughout the Temple and close examination of the floor, walls and columns confirms this. Buildings in the United States just aren't built like this any more.

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